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Last Updated: Friday, 17 December, 2004, 05:59 GMT
Euthanasia seeker dies in India
Venkatesh has been on life support for two weeks
A terminally-ill Indian chess champion who has been the focus of a euthanasia debate, has died in hospital.

Venkatesh, 25, was suffering from a genetic neurological disorder and was on life-support.

On Wednesday, a court rejected his plea to have his life support system turned off so that he could donate his organs before they were irreparably damaged.

Euthanasia is outlawed in India and organ donation may only take place if the donor is declared brain dead.

Doctors at the Global hospital where Venkatesh was undergoing treatment said he died in the early hours of Friday because of heart failure.

Plea turned down

His mother, K Sujatha, who was fighting the legal battle on her son's behalf said she was very sad that her son's last wish remained unfulfilled.

"I hope my son's case will force the authorities to review the law relating to organ transplants.

"I hope the law will one day allow terminally ill patients with different medical conditions to donate their organs to help other people in need," she said.

Venkatesh, a former national chess champion, had been in hospital in the southern city of Hyderabad for more than seven months, battling Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy.

The disorder degenerates the body's muscles, heart and lungs and he had wanted to donate his heart, kidneys and liver before it was too late.

But both the hospital authorities and the Andhra Pradesh High Court refused his request to turn off his life support system, saying that would amount to euthanasia or mercy killing, which is illegal in India.

The case is due to go to the Supreme Court

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